Pamiers: Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck promised to stop playing cat and mouse with rival Alberto Contador in Monday’s 187.5-km 15th stage of the Tour de France, the second in the Pyrenees.
"Tomorrow is another day and I need to take some time off Alberto at some stage," the Tour leader said after Sunday’s ride when he and the defending champion were content with just keeping tabs on each other.
Monday’s terrain, however, does not favour attacks and a long descent to the finish may help dropped riders to make up time.
The final climb, to the 1,755-metre Port de Bales above the stage finish in Bagneres de Luchon, has featured in only one previous stage in 2007 when it was climbed from the other side.
Luxembourg’s Kim Kirchen was first at the top on that occasion and the stage was won by Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov in Loudenvielle.
Now Contador’s right-hand man, Vinokourov was disqualified the following day for testing positive for blood doping. He won stage 13 in Revel on this year’s Tour.
Another pass on the course, the second-category Portet d’Aspet, is infamous as the climb on which Italian Olympic champion Fabio Casartelli crashed to his death in the 1995 Tour.